The Owen’s Heroes team at a tournament in January. (Photo courtesy of Owen’s Heroes.)

For the first time in three years, the charitable foundation known as Owen’s Heroes has put together a lacrosse team in hopes of reaching the Lacrosse World Series Championship (LWSC). The team, which goes by the same name as the charity, is comprised of 21 Hillsborough County-area 13-year-olds, some of which come from local schools such as Barrington and Rodgers middle schools. These boys will all be competing in a prequalifying tournament in Marietta, Georgia on Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19, where the top two finishers will go on to compete in the Lacrosse World Series Championship at the end of June.

How this team varies from a typical seventh grade lacrosse team is that while this team has set their sights on the LWSC, they also have a goal of raising funds and awareness for juvenile diabetes, the primary focus of the Owen’s Heroes charity. The founders of Owen’s Heroes, Ashley and Scot Eriksen, created this organization after their young son, Owen, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at only 15 months old. Through various methods and events, Owen’s Heroes raises awareness of the disease as well as funds that are later donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in hopes of eventually finding a cure.

One of these creative ways in which Owen’s Heroes is able to drum up awareness and get people involved is through a yearly lacrosse tournament, which started in May 2019 and has continued on to this year. Players who register are set into mixed-age-group teams, allowing them to play with teammates and typical opponents alike, all while working for a good cause. A past Owen’s Heroes tournament was a large success, as it was able to raise $4,000, which was entirely used to allow for kids to attend a one-week sleepaway camp for Type 1 diabetic children.

Scot is also a coach for this lacrosse team, and his son, Logan, will be playing on the team as well. The Owen’s Heroes players have played for various other area teams and often against each other throughout the past year, but they have come together to attempt to make a run at representing Florida in the LWSC, all while making a difference in the lives of countless other individuals.

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